Former players to testify against Barry Bonds in perjury trial

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We’re currently enjoying the makings of a fantastic postseason, so hearing anything relating to Barry Bonds is something of a downer, but here goes.

According to the Associated Press, Federal prosecutors on Friday submitted their list of witnesses they intend to call for Bonds’ long-delayed perjury hearing, scheduled to begin March 21 in San Francisco.

Nothing all that revelatory, as the the list of 25 witnesses doesn’t have any new names from the near-identical list prosecutors filed in February of 2009, a month before the trial was originally scheduled to begin. According to the report, the list includes Jason Giambi, Jason’s brother Jeremy Giambi, Bobby Estalella, Armando Rios, Marvin Bernard, Benito Santiago and Randy Velarde. Bonds’ former girlfriend, Kimberly Bell, and former football player Larry Izzo are also expected to testify.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to emerge from the AP report — it was new to me, anyway — is that prosecutors intend to use a urine sample Bonds provided as part of MLB’s testing program in 2003, which they say proves that he tested positive for steroid use.

OK, with that painful update out of the way, let’s get back to talking playoff baseball.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”